By now everyone has heard how a faction of Turkish military failed to overthrow the Turkish government. While there were many reasons why the military coup proved to be a failure, notable of which was the inability of the insurgents to gather public support to their cause, many believe that the turning point for the coup came when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the nation via FaceTime on CNN Turk, when the rebels took over the state TV building. In his address, he urged the nation to take to the streets and do everything in their power to thwart the efforts of the perpetrators of the demise of democracy in Turkey.

The Turks demonstrated their love of democracy and their country by gathering en masse on the streets, lying in front of tanks and posting updates of the coup on social media, ultimately resulting in the failure of the coup. Despite the blockage of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, people were able to access and report the unfolding events via virtual private networks (VPNs) which proved to be instrumental in deterring the success of the coup by taking control of the narrative of the situation.

This historic event highlights how integral a part of our lives social media has become that mere government blockages of certain websites can no longer hold back the general masses from exercising their right to access and distribute information and unrestricted access to communication channels. The failure of the coup by the hands of social media also accentuates how the rapidly changing technological trends have implications beyond those envisioned by the creators of these channels. It also points at the resourcefulness of humanity and their unwavering commitment to do everything in their means to resist an injustice.

This event was not the first people had taken to social media to express their unhappiness with the governing body. In 2011, an 18-day protest by hundreds of thousands Egyptians at the Tahrir Square in Cairo forced the resignation of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. Social media played an integral role in this event in uniting young educated Egyptians against the 30-year-long oppressive regime resulting in the event being coined as the “Facebook Revolution”.

Clearly social media has implications beyond being mere channels of communications among friends. It allows people to have an active say in the present and future of their countries and how they are governed. You may have noticed that many governments have realized the impact social media has on the masses and have taken to maintaining official social media accounts to garner positive publicity and reach the public directly. For example, the Facebook page of Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister focuses on connecting with not only Canadians but people the world over on issues that are nearest and dearest to their hearts. Donald Trump is infamous for taking to twitter to give his two cents about latest hot topics.

In InnoMedia’s opinion, social media is going to prove its worth as arguably the most powerful tool developed by mankind. The widespread popularity of social media and the ease of access afforded by mobiles has made it possible for social websites and applications to reach the masses in a way that other technologies couldn’t. Information is disseminated instantly making it possible for news like the Turkish coup to go viral almost instantly. It can only be expected that social media would have an even greater impact in the future.

 

Tehreem Fatima is Content Writer/Editor at InnoMedia.